Cambridge city Liberal Demorat group leader Cllr Tim Bick on the May 3 city council elections
The housing shortage, congestion and the standard of basic council services – these are the critical issues for Cambridge in this election.
The Liberal Democrats are offering clear leadership on each, based on our commitment to an open and inclusive city with a council working for all.
First, we will plan ahead to meet the city’s housing needs. The new communities now taking shape in Trumpington and Edington result from advance thinking by the Lib Dem council more than 10 years ago. The council should now work with landowners to relocate current activities on the two major remaining brownfield sites, the sewage works and the airport, to enable new quarters of the city. Labour had to be dragged into working on one and are doing nothing about the other.
Cambridge will otherwise become a steadily more exclusive and unbalanced place. More council housing will be very important in the mix, but on its own it won’t meet the city’s needs as Labour imply. We will add a new model of key worker housing, providing homes at rents linked to household income.
Second, a transformation of our public transport system is our priority to tackle congestion and allow more road space for cycling and walking.
Congestion is getting worse. After three years of the City Deal – originally won for our area by Lib Dems – there’s been muddled leadership and prevarication.
The CAM metro may be part of the answer but, for Cambridge people, it’s not the full solution. Bus services must be more reliable, more comprehensive, more affordable and less polluting to enable people to leave their car at home sometimes.
We promise to square with the public on all the practical options for improving public transport, so people can assess the implications for themselves.
Third, we will give high priority to the council’s ‘day job’ – providing basic services to the whole city, which means collecting waste, cleaning the streets and looking after public toilets and open spaces.
These services must keep pace with an ever busier city. Labour’s funding cut was the wrong decision after three years of increased complaints from the public – and it was avoidable.
We will also withdraw the council’s shameful new charges for disabled and elderly people using mobility scooters around the city centre. Our city should take pride in encouraging all our citizens to participate fully in the life of the city and avoid isolation.
This year’s elections
Local elections take place on Thursday May 3 for 15 of the 42 seats on Cambridge City Council.
This represents one per ward, plus an additional councillor in East Chesterton following a resignation.
We asked the leaders of the parties contesting the elections why voters should consider them. Labour has eight candidates standing for re-election, while the Lib Dems have one.
Elections are also being held in South Cambridgeshire District Council and for parish councils in our area. There are no elections to the county council this year.